According to the National Drought Monitor, there was no change to the drought status across Kansas last week, as all of the state remains covered by some form of drought. Most concerning is that nearly 40% is covered by "exceptional" drought, which largely covers the western half of the state.
The monitor notes that significant precipitation was limited to the eastern Dakotas, while the High Plains’ hard red winter wheat belt received little or no rain. "As a result, soil moisture shortages continued to limit wheat emergence and development across the northwestern half of the Plains," is states. "In addition, midweek wind gusts locally in excess of 70 mph raised dust and temporarily closed major roadways across parts of the Plains. On the southern half of the Plains, however, a combination of warmer weather and previous soil moisture improvements promoted wheat growth."
Meanwhile, very slight drought improvement was noted across the contiguous U.S., as 74.35% of the area is covered by drought, compared to 74.98% last week. Additional improvement to the drought was noted in areas of the eastern Corn Belt, as the drought monitor notes "topsoil moisture had improved dramatically, with less than one-fifth rated very short to short in Indiana (13%) and Michigan (16%)."
In the outlook for the next 5 days (October 25-29), the monitor states the complex interaction between Hurricane Sandy, a cold front crossing North America, and a blocking high-pressure system over the northern Atlantic Ocean will result in a high-impact weather event in the eastern U.S. "Coastal highlights will include large waves and beach erosion. Inland -- especially in the Northeast -- conditions developing during the weekend and persisting well into next week should include multiple days of high winds and heavy rainfall," it states. "Precipitation may eventually change to snow in parts of the Appalachians. Farther west, rainfall associated with the cold front could total 1 to 2 inches in the Midwest. Similar precipitation totals should also occur during the next 5 days in the Northwest. In contrast, dry weather will prevail from southern California to the southern Plains. Cold air will gradually engulf much of the nation, although temperatures will rebound to above-normal levels in the West by early next week."